Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde
Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde had many things in common, their political beliefs, roles in activism for both woman’s rights and civil rights, getting a divorce after having a family but most importantly their creative approach to language and poetry.
Audre Lorde was an african american feminist who used her words to captivate an audience and bring out a social conscience. Lorde was first impacted by Rich when her collection of poems titled Coal was published by the large company W.W Norton, who also published Rich’s work at the time. Being under the same name as Rich gave Lorde a larger white audience. Once Coal was published Rich was very impressed with Lorde’s work.
”Refusing to be circumscribed by any simple identity, Audre Lorde writes as a Black woman, a mother, a daughter, a Lesbian, a feminist, a visionary.” (University of Illinois)
Rich and Lorde remained in touch throughout the years, enlisting each other for various projects. In 1974 Rich was fortunate enough to receive the National Book Award for Poetry for her poem Diving into the Wreck. Instead of accepting the award solo Rich was joined by Lorde and Alice Walker to accept the award in the name of all silenced woman.
Rich and Lorde both had strong views and were social activists. This influenced their poetry tremendously. Lorde fought passionately for gay and lesbian rights. In fact, in her poem Martha claims her homosexuality in the line,
we shall love each other here is ever at all” (University of Illinois)
Lourde began writing her poetry with an autobiographical twist. From the start she drew herself into the lines and stanzas. This is something Rich practices as well though it came later in her work. Both woman have similar writing techniques and styles. Their ideas are similar and expressed in parallel ways.